Thursday, July 31, 2014

Big Fancy Houses

Last night Travalon and I took Rodney and went hiking at a state park near our house, but the mosquitoes were so bad that we quickly ran back to the car. So then we drove around looking at big houses on the lake, which was super fun. Since Travalon drives a Lexus SUV, people just smiled and waved at us. I’ll bet they wouldn’t have been so friendly if we’d been driving through their neighborhoods in my old hooptie Erin Caitlyn O’Honda! We drove into one gated community, since the gate was open, and saw a number of the enormous houses were for sale. Maybe people can’t afford the property taxes anymore. We figured if anyone did demand to know what we were doing there, we could say we were checking out the properties for sale, even though I can’t imagine living like that even if we did win the lottery or something. I’d feel too guilty, when there are people starving in the world. But the big houses sure are a lot of fun to see!

Tomorrow I may not get a chance to blog because I’ll be on the annual bike ride for the birthday of the Daughter of Dennii. This year Travalon is going as a support vehicle, since he can fit several bikes in his SUV. Stay tuned to find out how it all went!

Famous Hat

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Generational Hats

When I saw Ma Hat this past weekend, it struck me how much we looked alike, not just in the face but our outfits: we were both wearing hats and sunglasses. She is like a smaller, darker version of me, or perhaps more accurately I am a fatter, paler version of her, since she came first. How much of the way a person dresses is genetic? My grandpa loved everything Hawaiian, and as my regular readers know, I wear Hawaiian shirts almost every day in the summer. (People always tell me, “You look like you’re on vacation!” but maybe my life is a vacation.) I’m not much for skirts, except for on cute little sundresses, and Ma Hat doesn’t usually wear dresses either. Actually, I don’t remember ever seeing her in a cute little sundress, so I am still girlier than she is. When I was about two, she made matching purple pantsuits for us, but I refused to wear mine because back then I ALWAYS wore a dress. I had to emphasize my femininity in contrast to my brother, I suppose. But as people get older, they generally get more practical, and it’s hard to canoe in a dress, other than a cute little sundress if you wear shorts underneath it. I also usually wear sneakers instead of sexy shoes, and so does Ma Hat. If she only wore Hawaiian shirts, we really would look like bizarre twins separated by several decades in age. What would be really funny is if I had a daughter, and she grew up to wear hats, sunglasses, sneakers, and Hawaiian shirts. Then we could be bizarre triplets.

Famous Hat

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

More Laundry-Related Excitement

Today’s post is a follow-up to my post about moving my old washer-dryer combo from the old condo to the new one. Last night Richard Bonomo came over and exchanged the outlet so we can plug in the machines successfully. Both machines seem to be working properly; I just need to get a new dryer vent hose and a new agitator, since the old one always pops off and got a blade broken so it would tear my clothes to shreds. Soon we should be able to do laundry at home and not have to risk mysteriously losing it at the Laundromat.

This morning I got a call from the management company taking care of my old condo. There was a leak in my unit dripping down to the unit below. I was puzzled, since I hadn’t seen anything last night while sorting things there, but it turns out it was where the washer-dryer used to be, and I didn’t look back there. They told me the water hadn’t been totally turned off when we disconnected the units, and my rug was totally soaked. They used my shop vacuum to clean up the water and then turned my fan on to dry the carpeting, which is going to be replaced anyway, as soon as I get everything out of there. It’s just nonstop excitement with laundry-related events!

Famous Hat

Monday, July 28, 2014

Quotable UGGH Club Meeting

How do you sum up a wonderful weekend? Friday evening Travalon and I brought Rodney to “Bark in the Park,” the annual Mallards game when they allow dogs to attend. Then we stopped by the Laundromat one last time… and our laundry had mysteriously reappeared! Which was a really good thing, because Travalon’s Ireland shirt was among the items. We hadn’t even realized it was missing…

Saturday morning Travalon, Jilly Moose, and I drove to the Guadalupe Shrine in La Crosse, where we met Ma and Pa Hat and my mom’s friend since graduate school days. Travalon had never been to the shrine before, and he was as taken with its beauty (both the buildings and the natural surroundings) as I am. In the gift shop I bought yet another rosary, this one commemorating Knock, since we hadn’t had time to look for one while we were there. I love this rosary so much that I used it yesterday and then again today during my lunch break. It’s very pretty, with green translucent beads and a center medal shaped like a shamrock with the Knock tableau on it. Then Travalon, Jilly Moose, and I drove to Mauston to go to Mass at St. Patrick’s, since I was so curious about the church. For years I’ve seen it from the highway whenever I passed Mauston. It was pretty inside but not as amazing to attend as Sacred Heart in Eau Claire. After Mass we went to Marley’s in the Dells for mediocre fish and fabulous drinks. My advice to you: just drink there, don’t eat, or at least don’t get the grouper.

Sunday Travalon and I slept in, since we’d already gone to Mass, then we went canoeing up the Yahara. We were aiming for an island I’d seen on Google Earth and also remembered seeing from the street when looking at houses up that way with Luxuli. We had just sighted the island when a big wind blew up, and Travalon advised we turn back before things got too crazy. We were paddling against the wind and hardly seemed to be moving at times, and then by the Nau-Ti-Gal we got partway under the bridge and were blown back out from under it. Great, we had an audience with the people eating lunch at the Nau-Ti-Gal and several fishermen on the bridge. We did finally manage to get back home and got the canoe put away just before it rained. Later the sun came back out, and we went to swim at our health club’s outdoor pool for 45 minutes, until black clouds rolled in again. We got inside just before the rain came back. In the evening we arrived at Rich’s house just as another downpour started – what a weird weather day! Michaela and Rodney met for the third time, and at first they got along, then they didn’t, then they ignored each other and coexisted peacefully while the humans discussed our plans for UGGH Club. We had all had some wine, and we ended up with some memorable quotes:

Luxuli: “Could you repeat the restructions?”

Kathbert: “Hold out your crumb” (instead of "your hand"). (Also, when Luxuli said she was giving up gluten as a penance, Kathbert wondered if she were avoiding the sin of “gluten-y.”)

Me: (In response to Luxuli saying that Richard Bonomo made her breakfast at his house after UGGH Club) “I’ve never been eaten here!”

But by far the best was Rich: “I have no problem with UGGH Club starting at 6:30, so long as we actually begin at 6:00.”

So of course this morning Rich and Prairie Man got there at 6:30 but I didn’t make it until just before 7:00, and let’s just say I wasn’t the last person to arrive. Meanwhile, Travalon slumbered peacefully. Am I a good wife for letting him sleep, or a bad wife for not making him get up and work out? He probably swam at a more reasonable hour, so I’m not too worried about his health. 

Famous Hat

Friday, July 25, 2014

Bunny Stories

A happy story: someone let a domestic rabbit go at the Arboretum, and the workers caught it and brought it to the Humane Society, where he was named Roger. (I presume after the movie Who Framed Roger Rabbit?) One of the fiddlers in our band volunteers at the Arboretum, so she became interested in Roger’s fate. She tried to talk me into adopting him as a pal for Cashmere, but I had already promised Travalon there would be no more rabbits in our future. Today she sent an email saying Roger has apparently been adopted, since he is no longer listed on the site.

A cute story: my cousin has a rabbit named Bailey and a son who just had a birthday party, so there were lots of balloons all over the house. Bailey loves playing with the balloons so much that my cousin doesn’t have the heart to get rid of them, so she’s just letting them deflate. Apparently Bailey just pushes the balloons around and does not bite them; I saw a hilarious video of a rabbit biting a balloon and then totally wigging out when it popped.

An adventure story: last night we forgot to make sure Cashmere was out on the screened-in porch, so she got to hang out in the living room all night long. Was this exciting for her? It’s hard to tell, but she sure seemed happy this morning, bouncing around the living room. As far as we can tell, she didn’t cause too much damage; there don’t seem to be any chewed-up wires, just a few poops on the floor. Possibly she annoyed Rodney again and he chased her. She never seems to learn that she should leave him alone while he’s trying to sleep. We can’t tell if she approaches him out of curiosity, loneliness (“PLEASE be my friend!!”), or if she’s trying to establish dominance. Knowing Cashmere, it’s probably the last one.

Famous Hat

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Canoeing, Take Two

Canoeing, Take Two: I didn’t fall in the lake getting into the canoe, and we had it the right way around this time so my legs didn’t get all cramped. As Travalon noted, these are things you can only learn by doing. Yesterday evening was gorgeous, so we took the canoe out for over an hour, paddling down the Yahara River toward Lake Mendota. We noticed an inlet and decided to explore, but it was very weedy so Travalon thought we should head back. I had thought maybe it looped back around but did reluctantly agree to head back. Today I looked on Google Maps, and it didn’t loop around. In fact, it was the start of something called Six Mile Creek, so if we had continued paddling and the name is any indication, we would have been in for a really long trip. Good thing I listened to my husband!

In the process of moving, I discovered a piece of paper (bright red) that was kind of done up like a dollar bill. It was good for one dollar toward a purchase at the Froth House, a café on Allen Street, and it was dated 2010. Today after running errands on campus, I stopped there to see if they would still take it… and they did! With the $3 in my pocket, I had just enough cash for an iced latte and some tip money. This caffeine buzz should get me through another long evening of sorting stuff at my old condo. Then hopefully tonight Travalon and I will swim at the health club; this time we’ll try to get there before the pool is officially closed.

Famous Hat

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Playful Rodney

Yesterday was very hot out, so Travalon didn’t take Rodney the Poodle out for a long walk like he usually does. Late in the evening Rodney was full of pent-up energy, so he was as playful as a puppy, getting Travalon to chase him around. It was very cute. I tried to chase Rodney too, but he just kind of stared at me – not used to Step-Mom playing with him, I guess. He must have kept the game up for a good half hour. Travalon said I should blog about it, so I am.

UGGH Club seems to be on a bit of a hiatus since the Bonomobile died. Now Rich has to rely on Luxuli for a ride, but he insists on starting at the inhumane hour of six am, while Luxuli and I maintain that we can start at 6:30 and get done in time for work. While we are at an impasse, I have been swimming with Travalon. Last night we went to the outdoor pool at our health club, which during the day is full of kids. At that late hour we were the only ones in there, and it was fantastic! Then Travalon found a sign that said the outdoor pool closed just about the time we got there. Oops! As you may remember from last summer, I have a bad habit of swimming after regularly posted pool hours, and so the tradition continues.

Famous Hat

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Spoiled White Woman Loses Laundry

Sunday I looked at myself in the mirror of the restroom at the Union, and I saw my shirt from Ireland and my necklace from a tropical cruise. In that moment, I felt like an over-privileged white woman, traveling the world and buying souvenirs while people in other places struggle to get enough to eat. That didn’t stop me from buying a canoe with Travalon, but then yesterday I thought about it again. A load of my laundry got stolen from the Laundromat, which is kind of in the ‘hood. They took my underwear, including my favorite tie-dyed socks from Willy Street Co-op, my nightgown with little palm trees on it, my favorite Hawaiian shirt, and a couple of T-shirts I brought back from Ireland. Maybe this is my penance for being so well off, and now some poor kid in the ‘hood is going to get to wear shirts from Ireland even if he or she has no hope of ever visiting there. I actually have never been to Hawaii myself, but this poor kid has probably never even owned a nice aloha shirt, never mind having a prayer of setting foot in Hawaii. Anyway, that’s what I like to think, to make myself feel better about it. This isn’t the first time I’ve had laundry stolen, but this is the first time they took the whole load. This morning Travalon took me to Tar-Zhay to buy new underwear, and first we had breakfast outside. A Med Flight helicopter flew overhead, and I said that should give us some perspective, there is a person having a worse day than either of us. Besides, on the bright side, now I get a bunch of new clothes.

Famous Hat

Monday, July 21, 2014

Brand New Canoe

Sorry for my lack of blogging on Friday, but I was busy hanging out on the Union Terrace with Tiffy, the Daughter of Dennii, and various other people. In the evening we went to a concert of 14th century music that was not ars nova, and in fact it was really appealing. See? I knew they had good music back in 1370! I walked downtown from my job in an effort to burn 500 extra calories, and then we walked all over downtown. Do you know it takes two hours of moderate speed walking to burn that many calories? Who has that kind of time? Maybe I should just walk to work…

Tiffy slept in the loft in our new condo, and she wanted to do a very reasonable thing: turn off the light in the loft while leaving the ceiling fan running. However, we could not find a switch or cord that would do that. Finally Travalon took off the glass globe around the light bulb so we could unscrew it… and the cord was there, inside the globe. What kind of ridiculous setup is that?

Saturday Tiffy and I hung out with Handy Woman all day in her lovely backyard. Some other people came for lunch, like another coworker and her family, Travalon, and Handy Woman’s sister, but they all left eventually. We were going to go to the Art Fair in Mount Horrible, but sitting in the shade talking and drinking iced tea was just so much more fun, even if I was supposed to burn those extra 500 calories. Then we went to the final concert of the Early Music Festival with the Daughter of Dennii, and afterwards we saw Luxuli and Prairie Man, so we all went to Portabella’s for some sangria, and Richard Bonomo joined us. I really enjoyed going to the Early Music Festival as just an audience member, not a participant, but maybe next year I’ll have the extra brain cells to devote to participation.

Yesterday Travalon and I joined Tiffy, the Daughter of Dennii, and a bunch of their college friends for brunch at the Flying Hound, then Travalon and I took Rodney the Poodle to the Union Terrace. We hoped to rent a canoe there, but they don’t allow dogs – or small children – in them. So we went and bought our own canoe and took it out for an inaugural paddle. I had bought some brand new sneakers at Maxwell Street Days and thought they were SO white and shiny it was a little obnoxious, but as I was getting into the canoe, I fell out, so the shoes got full of muck. Now they look normal. Canoeing burns a lot of calories, so if Travalon and I canoe every evening, I should easily burn those extra 500 calories per day. Watch for future posts about our canoeing adventures.

Famous Hat

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Cultural Awareness

Last night Richard Bonomo, Travalon, Astrochick, a friend of hers, and I went to Concert on the Square. I got a sandwich to eat up there, and the Mexican guy working at the sandwich shop asked if I spoke Spanish, so we spoke a little Spanish. What I can’t figure out is how he knew. I certainly don’t look Latina… Maybe he said something to me in Spanish and I didn’t notice and replied in English – I’ve been known to do that. It amuses people to no end.

Astrochick is the head of the Astronomy department at her school, and she also teaches math and physics. Good thing she doesn’t teach music appreciation! She asked if I were still in that avant garde group called Buxtehude, and I replied that I was still in a folk band, which is about the opposite of avant garde. (For the record, I have no idea why she thinks our group is named after a Baroque composer; we’re actually called Dark of the Moon.) She asked if I still played the ukulele or mandarin or whatever. I replied, “You mean the mandolin? Yes.” Then she wondered if I still loved that music that was Egyptian monks yodeling, and when I said, “I have NO idea what you’re talking about,” she said, “Well, maybe they weren’t Egyptian. And maybe they weren’t monks. And maybe they weren’t really yodeling. Wasn’t it called Gregorian something?” I said, “Gregorian chant? Chant isn’t yodeling!” and she said, “It sounds like it!” Rich said, “Oh Astrochick, we have to work on your cultural awareness!” This has inspired me to create a handy Cultural Awareness Quiz.

1.       Gregorian chant is:
a.       That guy named Greg chanting “Beer! Beer! Beer!”
b.      A Medieval liturgical music form
c.       Egyptian monks yodeling

2.       Avant garde means:
a.       Ahead of its time
b.      Folk music
c.       A French security person

3.       Buxtehude was:
a.       An avant garde band Famous Hat played in
b.      A Mandarin
c.       A Baroque composer who mainly wrote for the organ

4.       My answers are:
a.       Mainly a, because I always choose the first answer
b.       I’m not taking this stupid quiz 
c.       Irrelevant - who can say what the truth really is?

How did you do? Are you sufficiently culturally aware?

Famous Hat

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

My New Wellness Plan

Our health insurance will pay us just to do a health assessment, so today I slept in and went to my assessment. I had to fast for 12 hours, but that’s not so hard when you sleep in. What I really missed was the coffee. The nurses measured and weighed us, drew some blood, and took our blood pressure, then they gave us the results… and mine were kind of a downer. My blood pressure is good, so that’s something, but my triglyceride numbers are not so hot. They suggested I talk to my doctor about going on a pill. I’d rather see if I can get those numbers down with a serious lifestyle change, and this is why I am telling you, my 5.6 gentle readers, all this – so you can keep me honest.

The website maps out a partial plan for you, like it wants me to lose 10 pounds in two months and burn 500 calories a day through exercise. Oddly enough, it did not say anything about avoiding sugar or refined flour. So here are my daily/weekly goals:
  • Burn 500 calories a day – this takes a lot more exercise than you’d think
  • One alcoholic beverage per week
  • One dessert per week
  • No more juice – it’s fruit or nothing
  • Whole grains instead of refined flour
It doesn’t sound so hard in theory, but in practice I have not been able to follow through. Now maybe I will be scared straight by my numbers and will actually get the exercise and avoid the temptations. This means no more pretzels (sigh!), and so Handy Woman said she would not bring them into work anymore, since I am their biggest fan. I generally only eat scones once a week, but since they technically are a dessert even if I treat them like breakfast on Saturday mornings, I’m going to have to forego my weekly scone unless I’ve had no dessert all week. Since I often go out for coffee with readers of this very blog, you can help keep me honest. It won’t be easy, but I think it is still possible to get my numbers down without taking any drugs.

Famous Hat

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Italian Ball

Last night Travalon and I went to the Italian ball that was part of the Early Music Festival. Some people wore costumes, and a few even wore their masks from last year, so I should have brought mine. (I came across it recently in the process of moving.) Travalon is a big fan of the dance instructor, an energetic woman with an extravagant British accent. She is forever saying “Tiddly hop,” whatever that means. It seems to mean “End the dance step here.” Travalon said he was just going to watch, but he did actually dance all but the last dance, which was the Virginia Reel so it wasn’t Renaissance Italian for sure. We did one dance in a group of couples, and a woman dressed like a female Henry the Eighth kept elaborating on the dance instructor’s perfectly clear instructions. I believe she is probably in the instructor’s dance class (which I considered taking myself, had I taken classes) and figured she was already an expert on this particular dance. None of the dances were too difficult, but the instructor and a man who was also in costume demonstrated some complicated ones for us. (Perhaps I should say “performed” because there was no expectation we would learn those dances.) A good time seems to have been had by all, and for sure by Travalon and me.

I am participating in a wellness plan through my health insurance that requires a checkup and then entering the numbers from there (cholesterol, blood pressure, etc.) into a website that then formulates a wellness plan for you. I made the appointment for tomorrow morning but then filled in the questionnaire with information from last year’s checkup – oops! Not that there’s probably a big difference now… The website said my major goal should be to lose weight (no kidding), with secondary goals of eating more vegetables (that one blew my coworkers’ minds because I eat tons of vegetables) and getting more exercise. The website makes me track how much exercise I’m getting, but interestingly enough it does not list lovemaking as a type of exercise, though I understand that particular activity burns plenty of calories. Anyway, I entered in the information for today (swimming for 45 minutes), not realizing it was actually being entered for yesterday, and then I couldn’t edit it. Oh well, maybe an hour and a half of dancing is the same as 45 minutes of swimming, so it all equals out.

Famous Hat

Monday, July 14, 2014

Early Music Weekend

The Early Music Festival has begun, but I am just going to the concerts this year, so my blogging should not be affected. It was a refreshing change to have time to do other things this weekend, like have brunch with Travalon and OK Cap at the Manna Café on Saturday morning, work more on my old condo on Saturday afternoon, and watch the World Cup final with Travalon, Prairie Man, Handy Woman, and OK Cap yesterday afternoon. Usually I would have been taking classes and rehearsing with the All-Festival choir most of the weekend.

Saturday evening the concert was music of Leonardo da Vinci’s time. Did you know he was a renowned musician in his day? I did not realize that. Apparently he was the original Renaissance Man, good at everything and good-looking to boot, although maybe back in those days it was tougher being illegitimate and homosexual. Anyway, none of the music he composed has survived, since it was all extemporaneous, so this was just music from his day, interspersed with readings from his early biographies (within a generation of his lifetime) and his own writings. It made me so curious about the man that I did some online research about him and discovered he was a vegetarian and would buy caged birds just to set them free. He was supposed to have been delightful company, charming and witty, so he is one historical figure I would have liked to have met.

Last night’s concert was more difficult music to listen to, ars nova stuff from the High Middle Ages. I can’t help wondering if it was their equivalent of our modern classical music, more about how clever it is rather than how it sounds. Did they really love this stuff back in the day, or if there were a Top 100 of 1370, would any of those songs be on it? After all, 700 years from now if people look at modern classical music, they might wonder what we were thinking, if our popular music did not survive. The popular music I have heard from the Middle Ages is generally quite catchy, so in 1370, just as in 2014, the average person doubtlessly preferred a tuneful composition that was easy to sing.

Famous Hat

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Confessions of a Pack Rat

Moving is always a bit overwhelming. Every time I walk into my old condo, there seems to be so much to do, I don’t know where to start. The other evening I was there sorting through paperwork, and here is the proof I am a terrible pack rat: I found notes from a classmate of mine when we were in middle school! So of course I had to read them, and boy, were we shallow back then! I did save a couple with really interesting references to life in the 80’s and funny doodles on them, but why I had saved all of them for so long, I really can’t say. They were mostly my friend complaining about other girls in her class, her parents, the teachers… you know, the usual things middle school kids complain about. Plus how she wanted to go eat junk food; it seems like we all ate junk food in the 80’s but we were thin. Now I rarely eat junk food, and I am not thin. And it can’t be just an age thing either, because now there seem to be so many tubby kids. Back when my friend Jennifer (that was 50% of girls in the 80’s, and the other 50% were Heather) and I were writing notes to each other, there would be one tubby kid in the school, and he or she would be teased mercilessly. I wonder if tubby kids still are, now that they are in the majority? Maybe we walked more in the 80’s, because I remember walking all over town with Jennifer, and Heather too. If we wanted to get somewhere further away, like the swimming pool, and our parents couldn’t/wouldn’t take us, we would bike there. Boy, am I starting to feel middle-aged, discussing how things were “in my day.” So moving not only is a big pain, it also reminds you of how old you really are.

Famous Hat

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Yuri the Hibiscus

This morning Prairie Man, Luxuli, Richard Bonomo, and I went to Pinnacle Health Club on the Square. It is much smaller than Harbor, and the equipment is different, so Rich had to spend most of his time showing me how to adjust and use it. Also, we met at 6:45 but there is only free parking downtown until 8 am, so my workout was pretty brief, but I am sore anyway. Neither Rich nor I care for this location as much as Harbor, and Travalon refuses to even go there because they don’t have a pool, so we’ll see what transpires in the future with UGGH Club. Rich has suggested tomorrow at Harbor at our original UGGH-y time of 6 am. Sigh…

The committee seems to have come to a consensus on the name of the hibiscus. I want to thank Ma and Pa Hat for their four very good submissions, but Kathbert suggested Yuri, short for urine, because the hibiscus has piss-yellow flowers, and we thought that was too funny to pass up. Plus I ran the two top contenders (Colonel Mustard and Yuri) by Handy Woman, and she said Yuri was a no-brainer. Rich wouldn’t mind Greg and Yuri sticking around in his perfect plant room. They are more reasonably sized plants than, say, Jolly Bob, which sprawls all over the place and now has shoots coming up in several directions. Moving it to my solarium is going to be an interesting challenge…

Famous Hat

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

New UGGH Club Schedule (and Location?)

Yesterday Richard Bonomo, Luxuli, and I experimented with a slightly less ugh-y time for UGGH Club: we got up at 6:00 and got to the club around 6:30, thus achieving an extra half hour of sleep. Travalon got up and came to the club too, but he swims instead of participating in these Unearthly Gyrations and Gym Horrors. Then we all got done just about the same time, so we headed to a coffeehouse near my job for breakfast and (obviously) coffee. This new plan seemed to go well, because I got to work almost on time, just five minutes late and that was because I took too long saying goodbye to everyone.

Luxuli would like to start going to a health club downtown that has reciprocity with ours, since it is really close to her place, close enough for Rich to bike now that the Bonomobile is dead, and more on my way to work than our original health club. Yesterday I went to get the paperwork for reciprocity, but the guy at the front desk wasn’t sure I would qualify, since my premiums are at a very old rate. Later he called me at work to say I could get it, so I should just stop by for the paperwork anytime. I was going to go swimming this morning with Travalon and pick it up then, but for some reason my alarm didn’t go off, although it was set. Strange – it went off yesterday… So tomorrow I will not be able to do UGGH Club at the downtown location unless I get a chance to stop by the original health club today.

Famous Hat

Monday, July 7, 2014

Fourth of July Weekend

Hopefully my readers had a wonderful Fourth of July weekend. I certainly had a great one, spending lots of time outdoors. On the Fourth Travalon and I went for a hike on Governor’s Island (which is actually a peninsula), then we went to Prairie Athletic Club, since we have reciprocity there, and swam in their outdoor pool. I forgot sunscreen but somehow escaped getting burned to a crisp. Luxuli and Prairie Man came over to watch the Brazil vs. Colombia game, and Richard Bonomo joined us, then we all went over to the Nau-Ti-Gal for dinner out on their deck, and OK Cap joined us. Afterwards Luxuli, Prairie Man, Travalon, and I joined some of our neighbors in watching fireworks from our condo association's pier.

Saturday I met the Rosary Ladies (Luxuli, Jilly Moose, and OK Cap) for coffee along with Richard Bonomo, Travalon, and some other people, then we ladies prayed the rosary while Travalon took a long walk with Rodney the Poodle. Luxuli had to leave before lunch, but Jilly Moose, OK Cap, Travalon, and I sat outside along with Rodney, enjoying brunch at The Fountain. Travalon and I went to the Mallards game and saw something unusual: the Mallards getting demolished, 1-7. Usually they win! And they are (were?) top of the league, and the other team (from Michigan) is second from the bottom. How humiliating! We ran to the health club between the game and the fireworks afterwards to walk laps in the pool, returning at exactly the right moment to catch the fireworks. Afterwards the cops shut down the road for like twenty minutes, so we were stuck there. Oh well, otherwise it was a very good day.

Yesterday after Mass and brunch, the Rosary Ladies and Travalon went over to Botanist 53’s house to help her put stuff away from her yard sale before the impending rain that never actually arrived. She gave us some stuff for free, and Travalon bought an antique cabinet from her. It needs some work but could be quite lovely once it’s fixed up. Travalon and I hung out with Rich for a while, then we took Rodney for a walk at Tenney Park, which includes an island, lots of bridges (one is out of commission right now), and a dam you can walk out onto. It’s a really beautiful park. Then we had dinner out on the pier belonging to our condo association, and the president of the association happened by and explained our condo fees to us, as well as telling us some colorful history about the neighborhood. One of the houses on the lake belonged to a guy who had pizza delivery cars stop by every day. Turns out he was a drug dealer, and he ended up being murdered. Our current neighbors are (thank goodness!) not nearly that exciting, except possibly the crane family (two adults, two young ones) who have been known to go after small dogs. So far they haven’t tried to attack Rodney…  

Famous Hat

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Coral Hibiscus Blossom

Yesterday I mentioned feeling a little foolish about purchasing another plant, even if it was a hibiscus for only $3. Today that feeling evaporated the moment I stepped into my office, because the bloom had opened, and it is spectacular! Check it out:

It's almost as big as the whole plant! And I love the color.

Famous Hat

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Another Famous Hat Contest

Trader Joe’s has the best plant deals, and so today I bought something I absolutely do not need: a $3 hibiscus! It has some buds on it and looks like it might bloom a pale coral, which (as my astute readers will remember) is one of my wedding colors. (The other one was supposedly teal but in reality was ivory.) This is a very small hibiscus; at Richard Bonomo’s house there is a much larger hibiscus that Luxuli rescued from the street and Kathbert babied until it recovered enough to bloom. I saw the bud forming before my wedding and realized it would bloom while I was in Ireland, so when I returned, I asked Rich what color it had bloomed. His response: “Did it bloom?” Kathbert said it was an uninteresting dirty yellow. The hibiscus is very happy in Rich’s ideal plant room, with its high southern exposure windows and a skylight to boot. It is sitting there with my plants The Professor, Jolly Bob, and Greg (Dr. Cheung is now in my somewhat ideal plant room with floor-to-ceiling eastern exposure windows), and a plant belonging to Mo-Girl. It does not have a name, but this is where you, my readers, can help out. What should we name the hibiscus in Rich’s house? Put your suggestions in the comments, or email them to me, and Rich, Kathbert, and I will vote on the winner. What will you win? Enter and find out!

Famous Hat

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Calla Lily Seeds

My black calla lily still has one bloom that is going strong, and when I inspected it, it appears to be producing seeds. So I did what anyone would do in my position: I looked on the internet to find out how hard it is to grow calla lilies from seed. The answer is: not hard at all. They did agree that with these newer cultivars, you never know what you are going to get. That only made me more curious to try. After all, it’s unlikely my calla lily got pollinated sitting in my office, since there aren’t really bugs around, so it probably got pollinated back at the grocery store where I bought it. And since there were all sorts of other colors of calla lilies sitting around it, who knows where the pollen came from? Not like I know enough about calla lily genetics to know if pink or yellow would be dominant over black, or vice versa. And like I need another plant, right? But now I’m too curious. I have to try growing a baby calla lily and give it three years to mature enough to bloom, and then I’ll let my 5.6 regular readers know what color the bloom is. Maybe I’ll even have a working camera by then and so could post a picture.

Famous Hat